GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher says he will not seek re-election to House

 February 11, 2024

In a surprising twist to a controversial few weeks in Congress, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) declared over the weekend that he does not plan to pursue re-election to his House seat after having served in the lower chamber since 2017, as The Hill reports.

The announcement comes on the heels of criticism Gallagher received for his recent vote in opposition to the proposed impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

In explaining his decision via social media, Gallagher explained that he began his tenure in the House under the assumption that his time in Congress would be merely a temporary phase in his broader career.

Gallagher, a former Marine, explained that from the outset of his tenure in politics, he “promised to treat [his] time in office as a high-intensity deployment,” not something meant to last a lifetime.

Even so, he expressed his belief that he has “accomplished more on this deployment than [he] could have ever imagined,” with his time in Congress including time spent as a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees.

Gallagher took the time to elaborate on his stance that congressional service should be a short-term proposition rather than a permanent post.

“But the Framers intended citizens to serve in Congress for a season and then return to their private lives. Electoral politics was never supposed to be a career, and trust me, Congress is no place to grow old,” he said.

The lawmaker went on, “And so, with a heavy heart, I have decided not to run for re-election.”

However, the timing of Gallagher's decision, happening so soon after he voted against the majority of his party on the Mayorkas impeachment question, has prompted many to suggest that he simply realized that the political fallout of that decision might be too great to overcome.

As one of three GOP House members to buck party leadership in regard to Mayorkas, Gallagher has been the subject of intense criticism from conservatives within the Republican ranks, as Newsweek notes.

Commentator Ann Coulter took aim at Gallagher as well as Reps. Ken Buck and Tom McClintock for their votes against impeaching Mayorkas, wondering online, “Were they dropped on their heads as kids?”

GOP strategist Alex Bruesewitz was particularly cutting in his criticism of the Wisconsin lawmaker, writing, “THOUSANDS of Chinese nationals are INVADING our nation because of the Biden-Mayorkas open border policies. Mike Gallagher just voted against impeaching @SecMayorkas,” and suggesting that the congressman was unfit to continue serving as a member of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Part.

Brusewitz, according to The Hill, has reportedly been made aware of “a ton” of interest from individuals who were looking to mount a challenge to Gallagher in the wake of his controversial vote, something which may have weighed heavily on the lawmaker's mind as he made the decision to forego a re-election bid.

Cook Political Report has characterized the district Gallagher will cease representing as a solidly Republican one, and therefore his departure appears unlikely to jeopardize the party's hold on the seat.